All the way to Cap Fréhel by electric bike

Get away from it all between the sea and marshland with Isabelle

Picture 1 All the way to Cap Fréhel by electric bike Picture 2 All the way to Cap Fréhel by electric bike Picture 3 All the way to Cap Fréhel by electric bike Picture 4 All the way to Cap Fréhel by electric bike Picture 5 All the way to Cap Fréhel by electric bike Picture 6 All the way to Cap Fréhel by electric bike Picture 7 All the way to Cap Fréhel by electric bike Picture 8 All the way to Cap Fréhel by electric bike

The ups and downs of the Penthièvre coast are within everybody’s reach when you have an electrically assisted bicycle! The only time your breath will be taken away is when you see the stunning landscape from the tops of the steep cliffs. For a truly immersive experience among the clifftop colours, wildlife and history, the ideal guide is Isabelle – who adores this outstanding natural site. Our local landmarks here are the yellow gorse, the pink heather and the lighthouse at Cap Fréhel… 

Saddle up!

Jusqu'au Cap Fréhel en vélo électrique

Our mounts are ready at Plurien, near a vintage caravan and a few yurt tents. Isabelle invites us to ‘test the engines’ as she fires up the on-board mini-dashboard attached to the handlebars. It only takes a few spins of the pedal for everyone to really appreciate the union between this little princess of a bike and the electric fairy powering her – it’s simply magical! We set off for the greenways, passing along some shared roads and a bit of cycle path as well.

Legends and real life in the marshlands

Jusqu'au Cap Fréhel en vélo électrique

A few spins of the wheel and we reach the tidal swamp where land and sea are intertwined, right in the heart of a unique natural landscape. Here on this bed of samphire and sea purslane is the spot where Gargantua tipped out a stone from his shoe, we are told. Just one of the local legends told to us by Isabelle, among a couple of rather more credible explanations to do with dredging fish! Marshland life unfolds before us, photos in the making.

On towards the pine trees and villas

Jusqu'au Cap Fréhel en vélo électrique

Back on the path, from what used to be a railway stop in the glory days of the historic resort of Sables d’Or-Les Pins – and the electric assistance is more than welcome as we climb up the Corniche! The slopes are dotted with villas that we see among the trees and hedges. Each new turn reveals a new vista of the sea’s colours, and the wide beach comes into focus as we ride on.       

A unique view of sea and history

Jusqu'au Cap Fréhel en vélo électrique

We wind our way along pretty little earth pathways, as well as tarmac and gravel routes, and Isabelle’s carefully designed itinerary brings us to a magnificent panoramic view of a famous maritime scene: the district of Erquy, the port of Les Hôpitaux and the islet of Saint-Michel. The pink sandstone rises up from the waves, and tells the story of the quarrymen who made their lives here in little houses that look like mining cottages. We bound over the rocky outcrops to reach a brand new stunning viewi point with a vista that stretches across the dunes, vaulting over the clifftops all the way to the Cap Fréhel lighthouse.     

A symphony of colours

Jusqu'au Cap Fréhel en vélo électrique

The landscape changes yet again, and we are riding along delightful narrow lanes lined with flower-filled low walls along pathways that make their way through fields, as a new palette of glorious colours bursts forth.  Orchids, comfrey and elderberries nestle alongside each other, and Isabelle explains the benefits of each of these plants. We see a surfer and then the leafy valleys give way to romantic-looking heathland. The pink of the heather and the yellow of the gorse tumble down towards the shingle, stopped in their tracks by vivid green ferns. Our guide tells us that there are carnivorous plants lurking within this shimmering palette, as we are greeted by the song of a cuckoo. 

70m high, between lighthouse and birds

Jusqu'au Cap Fréhel en vélo électrique

We reach Cap Fréhel without even being out of breath. It’s the perfect moment to enjoy a soothing lemon balm tea as we hear more about the lighthouse’s history, overlooking the sea from a height of 70m. On a clear day, you can make out Jersey from this amazing vantage point. Close to the cliff are two rocky peaks that plunge down into an emerald sea, their sides whitened by the guano of the seabirds. Isabelle’s keen eye picks out the nests of European shags, downy young seagulls and little black-legged kittiwakes. Although the auks are shy, they still give away the secret of where their eggs are laid. Anne takes plenty of photos and everyone is captivated by the spectacle and finery of the birds.      

Free-wheelers!

Jusqu'au Cap Fréhel en vélo électrique

After a long look around and an insight into the local legends, the pack of cyclists re-forms and makes its way back to the starting point. With the wind in our hair, everyone enjoys their bike at their own pace – and at the pace of their own calf muscles too. Karine accelerates along the protected pathway with no wasted effort at all, and the landscape unfurls its shimmering palette of colours.  It’s smiles all round as a great day out is rounded off with a glass of apple juice by the propped-up bikes.    

Text: Annick André

Practical information:

The meeting point for trips is at Les Salines campsite at Plurien

‘Cap Evasion vélo’ is located at the campsite entrance to the left

Duration of trip: 2 hours 30 minutes

The price is €24 for adults – €12 for children under 12 years

All information can be found at  http://www.cap-evasion-velo.fr/

With TripAdvisor’s reviews from travellers

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